Saturday, July 11, 2015

Harold B. Lee on "human horticulture" - the trials of life

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"Listen to the Master's lesson in human horticulture— 'Every branch that beareth fruit must be purged [or pruned] that it might bring forth more fruit' (see John 15:2)....
"Rarely, if ever, is there a truly great soul except he has been tried and tested through tears, and adversity—seemingly pruned by the hand of a master gardener. By applying the knife and the pruning hook the branch is shaped and fashioned to God's omnipotent design, in order that its full fruitage may be realized.
"Every one of you must endure trials, and hardships, heartaches and discouragements. When in sorrow and in despair if you will remember, you will be comforted if you learn this lesson: 'For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth' (Hebrews 12:6)—and again: 'My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth' (Proverbs 3:11-12)."
- Harold B. Lee, "Life Under Control," BYU Commencement Address, 4 June 1951; Church News 6 June 1951
Click here to listen to an audio recording of the full talk
President Lee helps us understand "human horticulture" as he interprets the Savior's parable about pruning, applying it to our lives:

President Lee points out the reality that our lives will almost certainly include "trials, and hardships, heartaches and discouragements."  But through understanding of the purpose of mortality, we can keep the perspective that allows us to grow and progress through those challenges of life, knowing that such things are a sign of God's love for us, and of His understanding of both our needs and capabilities.

In 1968, Elder Hugh B. Brown gave another memorable address at BYU with a very similar theme, titled "God is the Gardener," including the "Parable of the Currant Bush."

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